7 Mar 2013
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday
In 1995 my son finished his studies as a professional photographer and went to London to start to work with a very famous English photographer. At the same time the Eurostar started to run and I could be in London within 3 1/2 h. Today it only takes 2 h from Brussels to London.
At that time I was really very much involved in painting and still went to Art school. I never thought about photographing !
In 1996 I discovered the London Pubs ! They were a paradise for drawing people !
I bought myself a little sketch book and started visiting Pubs in London . I discovered over the years around 60 pubs ! I used to sit down in a corner, ordered a glass of cider, which I loved and draw the people. Nobody bothered me, it was real nice. Besides my drawings I described the Pub, because I had no camera at that time.
17 years ago, the Pubs were quiet different. There were no seats outside and I don't remember that any food was served. But there I may be wrong. People of all social classes went there having a drink or more and it was always a very cheerful and sometimes very animated ambiance, when it came to political or football (soccer) concerning discussions !
When I returned home I did some Pub paintings. Here is one which is still hanging in my kitchen.
Now nearly 18 years later, I was very disappointed when I visited Pubs again. They had changed, lots of them had disappeared because of the anti smoking law. It was a pity ! After the anti smoking law came out and it wasn't allowed to smoke in Pubs anymore, at the beginning they really smelled bad of cold smoke. Hundreds of years sometimes, people had smoked there and this smell was remaining in the wallpaper, decorations etc. Employees still go into their Pubs on Friday nights to have a drink together, that hasn't changed. But lots of Pubs have become restaurants, or just don't exist anymore.
I had never thought that I would be able to find some pictures of some Pubs I had visited for my drawings. Meanwhile I had learned to use Internet and own a computer. I felt quiet nostalgic !
There was this one which dated from 1808, in honor of the Boxeur Tom Cribb born in 1781 ! He was a bare-knuckle boxer. He was so successful that he became world champion and became a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The whole Pub was full of drawings of his boxing matches.
Dating from 1892
dates from 1695
and this one from 1765
I looked into my little drawing book and wrote down all the once I had also visited and I wonder if they are still existing ! The Woodstock, The Marlborough Head, The Swan, near Christal Palace, The Handsell, Le Bonaparte, the Dulwich woodhouse, The Scrumpy Jack, The wild Celt, Kings Arms, Half way to heaven, The white horse, The chardons, the Prince of Wales, and The blue Post,
Because the sad truth is .... "Pub to let" or closing down.
And why ? Because smoking is not allowed anymore. I agree that it is not nice to smoke where people eat, but I absolutely don't agree when people only have a drink together. After all, those who don't like the smell, just should stay home. There is a part of British traditions which disappear ! A Pub (abbreviation for "Public House"), is "open to the public", as opposed to a private house, and is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain. After all the history of pubs can be traced back to Roman taverns!
The history of "Pubs" you can read here